By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The resignation of Ricardo Teixiera, president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) from 1989 until 2012, is seen by many of Brazil’s sporting press as the green light Brazilian football needed to move to a system more compatible with the world calendar. After over two decades, some feel an opportunity for transformation has finally been presented.
While the Brazilian national team has enjoyed an impressive record during the his reign at the head of the CBF, the state of the domestic game has diminished considerably. Teixeira’s policies prioritized the Seleção over club competitions, whilst almost ignoring entirely female football, which saw precious little in terms of tournament support or investment in a serious youth policy.
As well as two World Cups, won in 1994 and 2002, Brazil won the right to host the 2014 World Cup under Teixeira tenure. However ex-Seleção striker Romário has gone as far as saying thanks to Teixeira’s exit Brazil has “freed itself from its cancer.”
Henrique Coelho, a sports press agent based in Rio, believes: “Politically speaking, Teixeira’s exit is certainly positive. It would not be good for the country [Brazil] to host the next World Cup with a man facing so many denouncements in command of the competition.”
One main concern is greater transparency in elections. Coelho believes more club involvement would improve the CBF. “The choice of CBF president is done in a provincial way, with votes given to the state federations, without any participation from clubs. Thus, the big teams in the country participate either sparsely or not at all in this process,” he said.
Mr. Coelho reiterated that grander changes than simply the man in charge need to be made. “The future will only be prosperous if more expressive changes are made to the command of Brazilian football. Participation of big clubs and everyone who works in the sporting field, including journalists are the ideal aims,” he said.
Improvement of club academies and structures can now be examined thoroughly if Brazil’s economy is to be matched by one of the most exciting leagues in the world. Considering the sheer depth of talent available in the country, the dream could easily become reality.
Teixeira did however modernize the Campeonato Brasileiro, Brazil’s national tournament, into a twenty team, round-robin format, with the winner being the team that collected the most points throughout the season. This did away with the final knock-out stage that Brasileirão had always staged prior to 2003, and brought the league in line with major European counterparts.
Teixeira also oversaw the inauguration of the Copa do Brasil, whose winner qualifies for the Copa Libertadores, South America’s most coveted prize. But many feel more modernization is essential still, and are waiting to see what is next for the CBF.